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Collins v. Department of Corrections

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

August 13, 2015

KEVIN J. COLLINS
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Submitted on Briefs July 1, 2015.

On the briefs: Kevin J. Collins, Pro se, appellant.

Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Diane E. Sleek, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Corrections.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, and JABAR, JJ.

OPINION

Page 956

PER CURIAM

[¶1] Kevin J. Collins appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court (Kennebec County, Marden, J. ) dismissing, as untimely filed, his petition for judicial review of a final agency action pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 80C and 5 M.R.S. § § 11001-11008 (2014). The Department of Corrections cross-appeals from the trial court's order waiving Collins's filing fee for this appeal, and the Department has moved to dismiss Collins's appeal to us as untimely and unperfected. See M.R. App. P. 4(c). We dismiss the appeal.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶2] Collins is an inmate at the Maine State Prison. He filed three grievances against the Department of Corrections relating to food services and the prison's telephone system. On November 5, 2012, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections denied all three grievances. Collins received notice of the Commissioner's decision on that date.

[¶3] On December 5, 2012, thirty days later, Collins filed a petition for judicial review of a final agency action against the

Page 957

Department.[1] See 5 M.R.S. § 11002(3) (stating that petitions for review " shall be filed within 30 days after receipt of notice" ); M.R. Civ. P. 80C(b). With his petition, Collins filed an application to proceed without payment of fees and an indigency affidavit, see M.R. Civ. P. 91, along with a cover letter stating that he would be sending a certified copy of his general client account statement, see 4 M.R.S. § 1058(1) (2014).

[¶4] Section 1058 specifies that no prisoner may obtain a waiver of a filing fee in an action that challenges " a condition of that person's confinement or the effect of an action or inaction by a government official on the life of that person," id., but the prisoner may be relieved of the obligation to prepay the filing fee if the prisoner can demonstrate " that the action or appeal is not frivolous and has been brought in good faith and that the person is without sufficient funds to pay the filing fee," 4 M.R.S. § 1058(2) (2014). To be relieved of the obligation to prepay the filing fee, the prisoner must file a certified copy of his or her general client account statement for the six months preceding the filing of the petition. 4 M.R.S. § 1058(1).[2] Although no copy of Collins's account statement had been filed, the clerk date stamped and docketed the petition and application.

[¶5] On December 20, 2012, Collins filed a certified copy of his account statement for the preceding six months. After review, the court ( Nivison, J. ) ordered that ...


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